FERRARI CHALLENGE BRAVES THE ELEMENTS AT SILVERSTONE
Wet, cold and miserable weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the teams and drivers of the Ferrari Challenge, as the BRSCC oversaw the latest rounds of the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell at Silverstone this past weekend, with the full GP layout in use across both days.
The first Trofeo Pirelli race, reserved for both Pro and Am drivers aged under 50, started on an incredibly saturated track; this led to a safety car start on the ground of safety, as with a field full of 670hp Ferrari 488 Challenge cars, ensuring both cars and drivers could circulate and race safely was an utmost priority. Polesitter Bjorn Grossmann swiftly jumped into a lead on the green flag start that the German would end up never relinquishing, as he expertly took a lights-to-flag victory from Niklas Nielsen in 2nd place, while Vicente Potolicchio held off the attention of Britain’s own Sam Smeeth to clinch the final podium place in 3rd. In the Am class, it was a British 1-2 as Chris Froggatt led Jack Brown home with Sweden’s Martin Nelson taking 3rd place.
Nielsen was able to get his revenge in the second Trofeo Pirelli race as he quickly stole the lead from Grossmann, who had again started on pole. The Dane was quick to exert his authority of the race as he, like Grossmann in Race 1, as he also led from start to finish and won from Grossmann by just over two seconds. Frenchman Henry Hassid picked up a 3rd place overall finish for his troubles after keeping British driver Smeeth at bay for the entire 30 minutes. The same top 3 in the Am class also came to fruition, with Froggatt doubling up ahead of Brown and Nelson.
The Coppa Shell races, reserved for Pro and Am drivers aged over 50, also had the same situation in their first race of the weekend as they too also began behind the safety car. Incredibly, pole man Jean-Claude Saada didn’t even make it to the green flag when racing started as he spun his 488 into Vale, allowing eventual race winner Vladimir Hladek to romp away to an unchallenged race win out in front. Behind him, the battle for 2nd raged between Dutchman Fons Scheltema, Italy’s Manuela Gostner and Swiss driver Christophe Hurni. All three drivers would see the flag in order in the Pro class, while just behind them in 5th would be Am class winner Alexander Nussbaumer, winning the category from Ingvar Mattsson and Giuseppe Ramelli.
Despite considerably better track conditions for the second race on Sunday, that didn’t stop an first corner incident at the start which saw no less than five cars hit strife at Abbey Corner, including that man Saada (who again had started on pole) and Race 1 podium finisher Scheltema. A lengthy 10 minute safety car period allowed the melee to be cleared, leaving Switzerland’s Hurni out in front. As with other races, the leader couldn’t be usurped as Hurni took his first win of the season, with Erich Prinoth in 2nd place and Race 1 winner Hladik in 3rd. Ingvar Mattsson took the Am class spoils this time, with Nussbaumer in P2 and Ramelli again In 3rd.
The supporting cast came in the form of the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic, with their sole race taking place on Sunday, the drier of the two days of competition. In said race, it was left to a pair of F355 Challenge cars to dice it out for the lead, with Wayne Marrs just beating Tim Mogridge to the flag to win overall and in Class 5, while 3rd place and Class 4 victory went to Gary Culver in his Ferrari 328 GTB, keeping both of the Challenge cars in front of him honest. Other class wins also went the way of Chris Butler (Class 3), Christopher Compton Goddard (Class 2) and William Moorwood (Class 1).